Recently the Nashville Pride ran a story about an incredible man named Floyd ‘Rock’ Stewart who had been battling with cancer for 25 years.
This past week, his battle ended. Rock was 37 years old.
Rock was diagnosed with cancer at the tender age of 12. Stewart said the doctors never really talked to him much about the cancer because he was a child, but he knew they didn’t have much hope for him when the ‘Make a Wish’ foundation asked him a question.
“They didn’t ask me what I wanted to do before I die, they just asked what do I want to do more than anything in the world,” said Stewart.
He was told he had six months to live but continued chemo, radiation and even had some surgeries. His chemotherapy continued when he started school again at W.A Bass. He said he was grateful the school let him wear his hat all day because he wasn’t comfortable with showing his baldhead resulting from all the chemo. A year passed, and then two, and then three and Stewart was in high school. He attended Pearl-Cohn high school where he graduated and even received a scholarship. It was called the ‘boot strap’ award and he won for writing a paper about overcoming obstacles—something he knew very well.
After high school, Stewart did attend college for a while but admits he started making some bad lifestyle choices.
“I had a lot of years that I didn’t suffer or was even dealing with cancer. During that time, I was not a perfect person and made some mistakes. I thought I would never make it to 30. I was searching for something I could do in this world.”
Stewart said he didn’t use his potential to the fullest and did some stuff he probably shouldn’t have, but that didn’t stop his family from being there for him.
“I’m thankful for a family that always supported me, even in my knucklehead days,” said Stewart.
Before Stewart died, he was suffering from something called ‘phantom pain.’ According to sciencedirect.com, phantom pain derives from phantom sensations described as perceptions that an individual experiences relating to a limb or an organ that is not physically part of the body.
Stewart experienced such pain because he was an amputee. There are various forms of pain that occur with phantom pain such as aching, burning, cramping and sharp or shooting pain. Sometimes your limbs can even feel as if they are on fire.
“Every single day of my life I’m in pain,” he said. “I don’t call it pain anymore. If you’re hurting in the same place for three years, it’s not even pain anymore.
“I don’t let the pain dictate how I live. I don’t let it define me. I have my good days.”
Stewart said that being a father of three is what helped get him through.
“I was told when I started radiation I would never have kids. I know without a doubt if it wasn’t for those three kids y’all would be writing about me for another reason.”
His children are four, five and six. From giving them baths, to helping them with homework and even cooking, Stewart prided himself in being a full-time dad.
“To me it’s all about just being there for my kids,’ he said. “I feel like nobody can take care of them like I can. No disrespect to their mothers.”
Before Stewart died, he and his sister created a campaign to help. Stewart said the campaign was not just about helping himself but other people too. His goal was $20,000 and he was able to raise almost $2,000 before he passed. Stewart wanted the cause to be bigger than himself.
“God is going to do what he’s going to do with me, but I think he wants me to help support somebody else. You find out a lot about yourself helping somebody else,” he said. “Give in good faith and you’ll always get that back.”
Stewart also sold t-shirts to support his cause. The shirts read “Turn down for life,” a response to the popular saying and now pop song, “Turn down for what?” He said it not only applies to people with cancer, but for people who drink and drive, smoke, etc. He said that sometimes you have to turn down to save your life or the life of someone else.
Rock definitely made an impression on a lot of people. He will be remembered by family and friends as the strong and caring person that he was.
You can still support Rock’s cause by visiting gofundme.com/c2yc0k. No amount is too small.